Melbourne-based Indie musical duo Big Scary are touring Australia in support of their new album Animal. Lighting design is by Mike MacDonald (below) of Twenty Twenty Creative Productions, a newly formed creative design team working in live performance and concert touring.
Mike has recently picked up a handful of emerging local artists including Big Scary, Emma Louise, and Olympia. He has a talent for producing a light show that is unusual, atmospheric and easy to tour – all with a minimal budget!
“For this tour I have designed a show that represents their music visually, using the colour palette from the bands artwork to create a direct connection between the bands social media to their show,” commented Mike. “The key element for this tour was to offer consistency across all shows, if you see a photograph from the show in Brisbane or the show in Perth, it’s the exact same product being delivered at every show. In Australia, it’s rare to offer this type of consistency at this level of touring.”
The band have given Twenty Twenty Creative full creative direction of the show from the colour palette to the dynamic builds and mid song blackouts, saying that they fully trust Mike will represent their music.
The design is 100% lit from the floor thus saving load in/out times and the need to hang equipment with ladders.
“It’s really important not to slow down audio and backline,” said Mike. “The second we arrive, we can begin setting up risers and backline. We designed the lighting rig around the band including the band keylight.”
It takes 1.5 hours to load the show in with a one man crew and some assistance from the band members to place the Martin MAC Vipers.
“It’s amazing to be able to teach the band about the purpose of each light,” added Mike. “They recognize what each fixture does, and call it by its name. ‘Shall we get the Vipers and dreamPIX in place before the risers go in?’ …… jaw drops in disbelief that musicians actually understand!”
As everyone on stage is very stationary, Mike used RGBW LED PAR as front/side key lighting saying that he initially wanted Martin RUSH PAR 2 fixtures but he couldn’t get any as they’re all out doing musicals!
“They’re such a great fixture but I’ve just been picking up RGBW LED PARs and that seems to be doing the trick,” he said. “It’s the six Martin MAC Viper Profiles on the floor that provide the big money look especially with the smaller venues that we are doing. You can get really big looks out of them just by adding a rotating gobo, focusing them into the audience”
Martin Sceptrons were on the original plot but again Mike couldn’t get any as they were all out on hire and so he looked at the ShowPro DreamPIX Tubes. Whilst they are not as bright as Sceptrons they do add an enticing sparkle to the stage.
“It’s a good fixture and very well made,” said Mike, who is touring the dreamPIX along with the ShowPro Node. “I knew this product would be in every photograph or IMAG shot at festivals – they add consistency between the shows, which is the drive of the design.”
Maximum fixture count per node is 16 x dreamPIX Tubes so Mike is touring exactly sixteen which is four universes of individual RGB cells. Initially he was concerned by the two-sided element of the dreamPIX wondering if he’d get what he wanted out of them.
“I played around with them adding mirror gel to the back of the tube, but that didn’t really work so I left them as they are and just rolled with it,” he said. “You get plenty of sparkle out of them and there’s a moment in the set where there’s a roll of the keys and the strips chase from stage left to stage right which looks great.”
Mike owns MA Lighting grandMA2 onPC command wing and fader wings but they are currently on a long term project filming on the Gold Coast, so he had to hire one from Chameleon.
“I’ve always been an MA user,” began Mike. “It’s a very powerful platform, from the onPC system to using a full-size console. It’s the same button pushes, syntax, muscle memory, workflow. Workflow is really important in how we deliver our shows, from loading a user profile, creating global palettes and presets. It doesn’t matter if you have 6 fixtures or 600 fixtures, everything is manageable. The product and software support from MA lighting has always been superior to other manufactures.”
Big Scary go back into the studio in December to continue writing and recording on their newly found love for indie electronic grooves, high energy ballads and stadium sounding saxophone parts.
Closing out the year Big Scary are playing Fairgrounds, Lost Paradise, and Falls Festival.
Photos: Four Minutes to Midnight